MIAMI — The Coast Guard offloaded approximately 350 kilograms of seized cocaine Monday from the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach.
During an Operation patrol on October 27, a Joint Interagency Task Force South marine patrol aircraft detected a go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling contraband in the Caribbean Sea. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight and an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment diverted to intercept the vessel. The RFA Wave Knight crew launched a helicopter and a smallboat with a Coast Guard LEDET aboard and boarded the go-fast, detained five suspected smugglers and seized 14 bales of contraband, which later tested positive for cocaine.
The contraband and suspected smugglers were turned over to federal law enforcement officials in Miami.
The drugs have an estimated wholesale value of $11.6 million.
“This seizure highlights how effectively the U.S Coast Guard and our Allied partners are working together to disrupt and dismantle the criminal networks that depend on the flow of illicit drugs from South America into the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe,” said Cmdr. Carmichael, deputy chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District.
Operation Martillo is a joint interagency and multi-national collaborative effort among 15 Western Hemisphere and European nations to stop the flow of illicit cargo by Transnational Criminal Organizations.
Joint Interagency Task Force South, a National Task Force, oversees the detection and monitoring of illicit traffickers and assists US and multinational law enforcement agencies with the interdiction of illicit traffickers.
The Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami. The RFA Wave Knight is a 645-foot fast fleet tanker of the United Kingdom.